Unusual Sights’ Land Skyline on TV Shows

Different opinions on impact of phallic ‘art’ seen from helicopter

By Tanim Woodruff

When a once-in-a-lifetime hailstorm hit Skyline [see story, page1] before the start of school, it managed in just 7 minutes to blanket the campus with white cold stuff that was enough like snow to play with. While the slick roads were instantly impassable for over an hour, the few students that made it up and onto campus had a great time.

Maybe they had a little bit too much fun: When news helicopters covering the “unusual sights” turned their broadcast cameras to the icy field, live images beamed several obscene sketches into the homes of NBC Bay Area watchers.

One or more students, it turned out made a giant phallic design stretching from the 40-yard-line to nearly the goal line. A similar crude sketch of male genitalia could be seen at south end zone, as well.

Many students found it quite amusing, like senior Steven Wilson, who saw it through social media.

“I think its some of the funniest s**t to happen at this school in awhile,” he said.

It was likely not as funny to NBC Bay Area news, who shut off the video quickly after the giant dong appeared on screen.

“Take a look at this though, oh, we saw something there, sorry for that,” broadcaster Marcus Washington said, calm despite probably realizing the clip would go viral.

Sure enough, in the media-fueled world of today, the picture was picked up by none other than Jimmy Fallon, host of The Tonight Show, who used at the end of his opening monologue on April 17.

“Finally, after it snowed in Oakland, California yesterday, the local news decided to cover it from their helicopter,” Fallon said in his joke set-up. “But they wound up filming something a little . . . well, just watch what they got.”

After the clip, he ended the segment with a dirty joke: “Looks like it snowed at least six inches.”

So, Skyline had the eyes of millions looking and laughing at us for the actions of a few students, and not everybody was impressed.

“I mean it really doesn’t affect me, but do you guys really wanna be known for this. Its childish, and just kinda dumb,” asked Mr. Johnson, who was linked to the news video by one of his family members on Facebook.

Though not all staff members were as blasé about the snow art. Mr. Anderson expressed his displeasure: “I’m more sad than anything that our young scholars would do such a thing. I just hope our seniors will be respectable at graduation. We don’t wanna wind up on Jimmy Fallon again.”

Skyline’s most recent media appearance wasn’t the most flattering, but it did put a smile on many student faces here at Skyline.

SAP CEO Speaks to Students

Pathway Helper Visits Assembly

By Noah Mitchell

It is not everyday that a CEO of a highly reputable company comes to take part in an interview hosted for students. Bill McDermott and his company SAP made an appearance in the auditorium to share stories and experiences from his life while also giving advice on how to overcome the obstacles facing their lives.

“I was working three jobs as a teenager, and I traded those three jobs in to be an entrepreneur and run my own delicatessen business,” McDermott said.

Eventually, after growing more apart of the community and building a game room to cater to the gamers of his delicatessen, a loyal customer came up and said, “Bill, when we wanna have good food, get treated with respect, and play video games we come into your store. And when we wanna steal stuff we go to 7/11.”

After spreading his wings and leaving his business behind he decided to interview for a position at a bigger company in order to bring more money into his struggling household.

“I say to my dad, I just want to let you know, I’m coming home tonight with my employee badge in my pocket, I’m going to get this job,” he said. “I wasn’t going for a job interview, I was in a fight for my life because if I could get that job, it could change the trajectory of my life, I’d be totally in control of my own destiny.”

Recently however, he was involved in a horrible accident that left one of his eyes damaged.

“I was in a horrible accident, I was all alone and woke up from an unconscious state. I was on that line of being on this planet and being somewhere else… I’ll never forget making it out and laying out on the heart of the driveway and half in the street just asking someone to please call 911,” he said.

“You have to find a way to get up, get out, and get on, by the grace of God I did that… What happened to me is nothing compared to other people.”

Finally he took some questions asked by Sophomore Eleanor Wikstrom and Junior Jonathan Piper.

“He was cool, really down to earth. I feel like he didn’t really answer our questions though,” Jonathan said.

Some of his most powerful quotes were left as advice for students like, “trust is built one drip at a time, but you can lose it in buckets,” or, “the true measure of a leader is not what you take from this world, it’s what they give it.”

At the end of the panel students were told they would receive a signed copy of his book.

Students Continue to Protest Gun Violence

Speeches, poems mark renewed effort at awareness

On March 20, Skyline students participated on the second national school walk-out to raise awareness against gun violence since the Parkland, Florida school massacre that triggered a youth protest movement.

Although not every student participated in the rally the second time around, there was definitely enough people to send a message that the students and staff are fed up and are demanding change.

Leadership Vice President Avelina Rivezzo delivered a welcoming  and warm-hearted speech about gun violence and the safety of the school. Adrianna Villegas and Olive Blair followed by expressing concern for our school safety.

There was also a very captivating poem given by Nadia Brooks and a wonderful song given by Carlita Landrum.

Students were hoping to walk together after the rally to Joaquin Miller Park to form yet another rally, but school administration prevented them from leaving the school grounds. However, some students still decided to leave the campus. There were no reported incidents after this rally.   


Students Elect Adams as ASB President

Melesungu Ofa will be VP after hotly contested vote

“My intentions for next year as the Skyline ASB president is to bring more opportunities for students to become more competitive for college, and enhance our student- teacher relationships, so that they are more positive, and that classes are a fun learning environment rather than a place students don’t find worthy of their time. In general, I want to make Skyline a more cohesive and safer environment for the entire student body, and use my voice with students and administration to advocate for complete transparency positive growth and new ideas for the upcoming year.”

— Antwan Adams, ASB president-elect (right)

Mandarin Classes Eliminated

Admin cites lack of interest

By Noah Mitchell

Skyline has offered Mandarin classes for many years, but it seems like that will finally come to an end for the 2018-19 school year. Some students are upset that one of Skyline’s three world languages will no longer be taught on campus.

“Mandarin can offer a different language option to students who may be fatigued of taking Spanish or French,” said Steven Phan, who published a petition on Change.org to try to save the program. “Personally, I think that the termination of Mandarin is a bad thing because it is already so rare throughout OUSD schools, as well as the Bay Area.”

There still seems to be some confusion amongst students on the real reason for the cancellation of the Mandarin course on campus. “I feel like they made this decision because of OUSD’s budget crisis, coupled with fact that there are not enough students taking the class,” Steven said.

In fact, he is right, on both counts.

“This has been a really tough decision and it has not been a popular one. It has certainly not  been one that I wanted to make, but it’s been necessary because of the economics of it,” Co-Principal Bloom said. “Skyline is terminating Mandarin due to a lack of student interest.”

She added that, while she was “very saddened by it” because “Mandarin is an excellent language for our students to master,” that “student interest drives virtually everything we offer here.”

This year, the first-year Mandarin 1 course was not included in the master schedule, with Mandarin teacher Ms. Young asked to teach three sections of study hall in addition to Mandarin 2 and 3.

“I don’t want to take things away from the kids, but the kids are voting with their feet. They’re not signing up for the language, which is saying that they don’t want it,” said Ms. Bloom. “Right now I do not have enough students that wanted to take Mandarin to fill one full class.”

Steven’s online petition, which had 196 signatures as of May 28, argues, “Aren’t high schools suppose to support students who want to take challenging and beneficial courses and better prepare students for their future?” but the administration says this is always realistic.

“We can offer any one of 53 different languages on this campus, but if there’s only a few students who want to take it I simply can’t afford to do that,” Ms. Bloom said, referring to the added cost of paying teachers with small class sizes.

However, as the petition points out that, this spring, the class was not even offered on course request sheets. Bloom confirmed this, and was apologetic.

“The administration team did not work well collectively and resulted in a decision being made without everyone else’s input on whether or not Mandarin would be listed on the course selection guide,” she said. “When I discovered that, we went ahead and made incoming freshmen for Mandarin 1 class a separate course sheet. We also announced the issue at assemblies while doing a lot more promoting of Mandarin 1 to let kids know that it was available if we had an appropriate number of kids; unfortunately we did not.”

Studying at least two years of a world language in high school is not only required for completing the A-G requirements for graduation in OUSD, but some students also use this as an opportunity to advance within a language they will continue to pursue in college or elsewhere.

“I feel that Mandarin is important to students . . . because it brings diversity and opens up the doors in the future to the possibility of speaking the language and indulging in the culture,” said Steven. “Biliteracy is needed. Getting any job in fluent translation pays good money for those who can meet a company’s needs.”

According a 2017 study by the American Councils, Mandarin/Chinese is the 5th-most commonly taught world language in the United States, after Spanish, French, German and Latin, respectively. However, many experts rank it as one of the most difficult for English-speakers to learn.

“Mandarin Chinese is challenging for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the writing system is extremely difficult,” wrote Dylan Lyons of Babbel.com. “The tonal nature of the language makes speaking it very hard as well.”

“Mandarin is based off of ideogram which focuses more on the meaning than the pronunciation of words. If one were to read it they will know the meaning, but maybe not how to pronounce it. This makes it harder for students because there’s no set alphabet,” Steven said. “[But] once you learn Mandarin, like any other language, it becomes easier over time, it’s based on practice.”

A visit to Ms. Young’s advanced Mandarin classes shows that many who currently take the class have an Asian background, and some have experience with other tonal languages like Cantonese. With about 15 percent of OUSD students identified by the district as “Asian” ethnicity, and 16 percent of Titans, axing the school’s only Asian language does raise a possible issue of discrimination, as the Steven’s Change.org petition implies: “Such decision making, which is totally inconsiderate of current and future students who want to take Mandarin, is an inequity in itself.”

Luckily, some preparation has been done in order to help current Mandarin students adjust.

“We are timing it in such a way where we didn’t offer Mandarin 1 last year, so there’s not Mandarin 2 class this year. So by definition there’s no Mandarin 3 class next year,” Bloom stated. “Primarily we’ve done it through attrition that so when the kids time out of it that they’re not losing too much time, but some kids will be, and they’ll need to repeat a level of Mandarin 2 that we’ll need to figure out how to accommodate them because they have a right to have a second opportunity.”

Currently, according to admin projections, the following world language courses will be offered for 2018-19: Spanish 1, 2, and 3; AP Spanish; French 1, 2, and 3 (combined with French AP); Espanol para Hispanos 2, 3 and 4.

Bizarre Ice Storm Causes Mayhem

Slippery roads prevent buses, parents & staff from arriving

By Janae German

You might expect for schools in New York and Chicago to have snow days, but when something similar happens in Oakland, no one expects it and no one is prepared. Ice covered the ground all over the Skyline campus and nearby parts of Oakland, which ended up causing mayhem for administrators, but a lot of fun for many students, but not for all.

Going to Skyline was the hardest thing any student or teacher could do while going up the treacherous hill covered with ice, sleet, and water. On Monday, April 16, students and teachers of Skyline had to suffer from traffic, slipping on ice, or staying at school from a abrupt and powerful hailstorm.

“I tried to get the administration to cancel school,” said Assistant Principal Carson.

The danger of students slipping and car accidents at Skyline was exceptionally high due to all the ice and sleet on the ground. This raised concern for the admins.

“School was like any other day. Anyone who didn’t come to school had an unexcused absence. There was also notices sent out to teachers to let them know what was happening,” said Ms. Bloom.

However, most classes throughout the day had only a handful of attendees.

Going up and down the hill was very dangerous for those who were driving or even walking. Cars started to hydroplane, which resulted in the traffic that drivers and passengers had to endure.

Students who were on the buses ended up walking home. Some students and teachers who walked down the hill ended up slipping on the ice.

“Being stuck in traffic was super boring,” said junior Alvin Yu when asked about his experience that day.

Some people might have been bored that day, but the students at Skyline found a way to make the best of the situation. Many of them played in the “snow”, an almost unheard occurrence here in the Bay Area.

“We made a snowman on the field,” said junior Elon Simon.

Some students just chilled in class. “We played Giant Uno and watched Anime in Frey’s class,” said senior Tavon Peace.

Some students even took part in creating the now infamous snow-penis drawing on the field that would end up on the news later that day, as seen from a hovering helicopter.

For students, the storm that hit Oakland was anything but bad. Some students walked down the hill either to go home or to go buy something, due to the traffic, and some students were at school making use of their time.

La Raza Unida Assembly

   La Raza comes to Skyline Highschool!!

On May 22, 2018 during 3rd and 4th period we had La Raza Unida perform in the auditorium of Skyline. The performance was greatly loved and applaud by students. The assembly show cased the different variety of hispanic culture, displayed by students and professional who came to Skyline and performed. During lunch the Banda group continued and played music in the Senior Lawn.

Here are some photos and videos of the performances:





Skyline Ice Day: Media Perspective

Skylines on the news weather it’s good or bad you decide.

by Tanim Woodruff

On April 16th Skyline had an unexpected weather event that shook the campus. At around 7:00 am it started to hail; now hail at Skyline is nothing new but the level and the amount that it hailed was amazing. It lasted for 7 min and blanketed not only the campus but all of Oakland. The few students that made it up before had a great time. Maybe they had a little bit too much fun. Few students, who have not come forward, made a giant phallic design in our football field. To many of the students they found it quite amusing, like senior Steven Wilson who saw it through social media.

“I think its some of the funniest s**t to happen at this school in awhile,” said Steven, a Skyline senior.

Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 2.01.59 PM.png

Though it was funny it see a giant penis made out of the ice on your football field, it was not funny to NBC Bay Area news. Their helicopter news video of the hail storm that hit the bay area flew over Skyline capturing the snow on our field. The decided to zoom in on the field in which the giant dong was on full view and the video immediately shut off. Of course in the media-fueled world of today the picture was picked up by none other than Jimmy Fallon.

Skyline had the eyes of millions looking and laughing at us for the actions of a few students. Mr. Johnson, who was linked the news video by one of his family members on Facebook had this to say. “I mean it really doesn’t affect me, but do you guys really wanna be known for this. Its childish, and just kinda dumb.”  Though not all staff members were as blaissez about the snow art. Mr. Anderson expressed his displeasure. “I’m more sad than anything that our young scholars would do such a thing. I just hope our seniors will be respectable at graduation. We don’t wanna wind up on Jimmy Fallon again.”

Skyline’s most recent media appearance wasn’t the most flattering put it did put a smile on the students here at Skyline.

Here is the links to the news and appearance on Jimmy Fallon:

The video is shown at 5:55 ;


Famous Poet Speaks to Skyline Students

By Noah Mitchell

Carlos Andrés Gómez

Carlos Andrés Gómez came all the way from New York to perform some of his popular works of poetry for select Skyline students during 5th and 6th period in the library.

“My primary medium is poetry, but a lot of my life is just going out and interacting with people performing stuff that i’ve written,” Gómez said, in an interview just before his May 9 presentation.

Gómez is an award-winning poet as well as a speaker, actor, author, and a writer. While being most known for his viral poems, which have millions of views on YouTube, he has also co-starred in Spike Lee’s Inside Man with Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen, and appeared on shows such as HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and TV One’s Verses and Flow.

“The most exciting thing I’ve ever done [in poetry] is I got to read a poem I wrote for my sister and I performed it for her for the first time at this festival in Berlin. It was a really really special poem about her struggles with dyslexia, and I had a really hard time learning how to read. It was a singular moment in my life to be in this room with her, and to gift her this poem that she didn’t know existed, in front of all these people in this really exciting moment of my life is my best highlight,” he said.

When it came to giving students advice on how to become a poet and write compelling poetry, Gómez commented, “When I think about a poem I think about, ‘What is nobody talking about? What’s the most urgent thing you are grappling with?’ And that’s where you should start when it comes to your process. Things that make you scared, unmoored, or disoriented. That’s a good place to start in your creative processes because there’s a lot of electricity there and those are the stories we need to tell.”

“I’m here to do some poems and then I’m going to chop it up with students,” added Gómez. One of the students he talked to after his performance was sophomore Eleanor Wikstrom. “I thought [his performance] was really good. I’ve seen one of his performances when I was in middle school, so I wasn’t really sure if he was going to do the same material or different. He did one of the same poems, but of course it was still good two years later. I like the content, I feel it is really relevant considering that a lot of things that are happening in today’s political climate and social climate. So it was nice to hear him tell his stories.”

Mr. Bloomfield, the school librarian who helped organize the visit, also got to talk about his experience hearing Gómez’ poems. “This is the second time that Carlos has come to speak to students here at Skyline and both times he’s shown himself to be an absolute professional. He captivates the room quite easily while being able to work with our weird Wednesday bell schedule, and it seems as though kids walk away from his presentations excited about poetry in a way that really you can only get if you’re seeing it live from the poet himself. He has excellent delivery and writes about things kids are interested in and I really hope he comes back next year.”

“Two years ago when he came, kids came up to me after and said, ‘Hey can we get him to speak at our graduation.’ Unfortunately, like now, it was in May that he came to speak, so it wasn’t enough time for him to be able to do that. However, he does speak at graduations, so for future students reading this article right now let me know if you are interested and I’ll contact him earlier in the school year,” commented Bloomfield.

You can visit his website @http://www.carloslive.com for more information on Carlos, his poetry, social media, and his performances including times and locations.